About 30 mi north of Greenville, these two state parks boast more than 50 mi of hiking trails.
Caesar's Head State Park. Part of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area and best known for the Raven Cliff Falls here, Caesar's Head State Park is about 30 miles north of Greenville. The trail leading to 420-foot-tall falls can be reached a mile north of the park's main entrance; along the way there are spectacular views of river gorges and pine-covered mountains.
Cross Matthews Creek on a suspension bridge; the view of the falls is worth the terror of knowing you're held in the air by nothing but wire. Register at Park Headquarters before you head out on the trail. Near the headquarters are Table Rock and Devil's Kitchen, a geological phenomenon that stays cool even in the heat of summer. 8155 Geer Hwy., U.S. 276, Cleveland, 29635. 864/836–6115. www.southcarolinaparks.com. Overlook is free, $2 for use of hiking trails. Office: daily 9–5; overlook: daily until dark.
Jones Gap State Park. Famous for the Rim of the Gap trail, which has views of Rainbow Falls, Jones Gap State Park is 6 miles east of U.S. 276 and is part of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area. You can head off on several trails from the Park Headquarters, or pick up a map and drive to one of the well-marked trailheads. Be sure to pick up a trail map and register before venturing into the wilderness; some of the trails are long and strenuous. 303 Jones Gap Rd., 6 mi east off U.S. 276, Marietta, 29661. 864/836–3647. www.southcarolinaparks.com. $2. Daily 9–9 during daylight saving time; daily 9–6 rest of year.
Greenville, South Carolina, United States